Top 5 Icebreakers for New TEFL Teachers
2018-06-07 Linda Dunsmore Teaching Ideas
As you have learned during your TEFL certification course, a good lesson starts with an engage, or warm-up phase. This usually consists of a fun and interesting activity to get your students going and speaking in English. For new teachers, it’s often these more casual moments of a class that are a challenge because of their lack of teaching experience. However, these top 5 icebreakers for new TEFL teachers will help you to get your class energized and ready for your lesson.
1. Two Truths and a Lie
This is a great activity for your very first lesson with a new class. Basically, the students each write down three statements. Two statements are true but one of them is a lie. Next, the students either present the statements to each other or to you, the teacher. The other students, or you, must then guess which of the statements was the lie. It’s a great activity to play with a new class because you can learn something about your students. For example, you can ask them to write down three statements about themselves and then find out which one is not true. At the same time, you can also join in and tell your students three statements about you and they need to guess which one is a lie. This usually lightens the mood and your students can learn something about their classmates and their new teacher.
2. ABC Word Chain
This activity is ideal for building vocabulary and can be played with all levels of students. The teacher chooses a topic and asks a student for a word that fits into that topic. For example, the topic could be “animals” and a student says “lion”. Next, the students take turns building a word chain by looking at the final letter of the last word in the row, here “lion”, the letter “n”, and choosing a word that begins with this letter and also fits into the given category. So, in the case of our animal word chain, it could be “lion”, “newt”, “turtle”, “elephant”, and so on. Play this for a couple of minutes at the beginning of your lesson to give each student a chance to think and speak in English.
3. Positive, Negative, Crazy
Similar to the activity at number 2, the teacher writes a category or topic on the board and then passes a “hot potato” around the classroom. When the teacher yells “Positive!” the student with the “hot potato” in their hand needs to form a positive sentence that fits into the topic on the board, such as “I love taking a walk in the forest,” with “In My Free Time” as the topic. If you say “Negative!”, the students need to make a negative sentence, for example, “I don’t like playing baseball but my brother makes me play with him anyways!” If you yell out the third option “crazy”, the student holding the “hot potato” can create a sentence however they like!
4. Would You Rather…?
This activity usually results in laughter and a good and positive start to your class. Have your students write down questions starting with “Would you rather…” and present them to one another in class, for example, “Would you rather eat worms or bugs?” You can then follow up with “Why?” getting the students to make longer statements and expressing their opinion in English.
5. Finish the Sentence
Very easy and fun to play is the “Finish the Sentence” game. Here, the teacher simply writes the beginning of a sentence on the board and has the students finish the sentence in their own words on a sheet of paper. After a few minutes, the teacher asks the students to read out their answers to the class. To make it a little more interesting, you can prepare a variety of sentence beginnings beforehand and ask students one by one to complete the sentence without writing it down on paper.
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These five icebreakers are ideal to start your ESL lesson and get your students thinking and talking in English.
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